Art Lebedev Optimus Maximus - Art Lebedev Optimus Maximus



Typing performance of the Optimus Maximus is okay. Passing it round the office, everyone’s initial reaction was to think it was horrible as its shiny keys are slightly slippery and due to them being quite wide, to accommodate the displays below, they have only small gaps between each key – the US layout didn’t help either. With time, though, you do get the hang of it and although this is certainly not a performance keyboard such as the Filco MajesTouch it is comparable with most standard keyboards that use a rubber membrane for the key action.

Not that the Optimus Maximus uses anything quite so cheap as a rubber membrane. Instead its keys are properly sprung. Indeed, in case you were wondering, the 48×48 pixel displays themselves don’t move, to save on wear, but instead the clear plastic cap moves around them. Each key module (the cap, the display and a microchip) can also be removed for cleaning or replacement. It’s this extra engineering along with the cost of the displays that is the reason for this keyboard’s extortionate price.

Given this is such a customisable keyboard you’ll be glad to know that there are two columns of five shortcut keys on the left side, along with the full selection of normal keyboard keys. This means that at the very least you can have access to your favourite shortcuts and programs while keeping the main keyboard ready for normal typing.

It’s impossible to compare the Optimus Maximus to anything else on the market. Microsoft has recently sponsored a project to create a similar prototype but for the most part, if you want a keyboard where every key can show whatever you want, this is your only option. Art Lebedev used to offer a three button version called the Optimus mini three, which used three larger display/keys and the company is also working on a 3×5 button pad to sit alongside a normal keyboard. However the former has sold out and the latter is still a prototype.

So we come to the question of value and you won’t be surprised to learn we think the Optimus Maximus is horribly overpriced. We appreciate all the arguments for its cost; the low production volumes, the engineering involved, and the sheer cost of 109 OLED displays, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’d have to have more money than sense to spend £1,499 on a keyboard. While it clearly has its potential uses, we feel most people would be better off simply learning the keyboard shortcuts for whatever program they’re using. It’ll be both quicker and cheaper in the long run. If you do have a spare wodge of money and do use many different programs and play many games, which you can’t always remember the shortcuts for, it could be a useful addition but even then the lack of Layer development means you may have to do all the donkey work yourself.


The Optimus Maximus is a brilliant concept. Putting a screen in every single key of a keyboard and allowing it to display whatever you like is a trick that looks really cool and has the potential to be useful. As such we have to applaud Art Lebedev for bringing the product to market. Unfortunately, simply creating a product isn’t where the story ends, it also has to be worth buying and here is where the Optimus Maximus falls down. It’s astronomical price means it’s really only a toy for the very rich.

Score in detail

  • Value 2
  • Features 8
  • Design 8

More from TrustedReviews

LG Q8 finally brings the V20’s promise to Europe

Atari is now in the speaker business… and the hat business

Thinner Moto Z2 Force could come with a huge trade-off

HyperLoop One

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop gathering pace as NY-DC link gets ‘OK’


Is this proof an N64 Classic will follow the SNES?

Agents of Mayhem preview

cats 17

Why you’ll want to download this OnePlus 5 update today

Golf rory

British Open Golf Live Stream: How to watch online for free

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for Xbox One down to under £9

Samsung Gear S3 finally gets Samsung Pay support in UK

Welcome to the all new Trusted Reviews

Netgear Arlo

Netgear Arlo Pro

Cat Amazon

Are you kitten me? Pet translation devices tipped for future smart homes

fire emblem warriors

Fire Emblem Warriors


Pokkén Tournament DX

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb 5

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay now lets you use your PayPal funds at the checkout

assassins creed origins

Ubisoft teases new games for Nintendo Switch, coming ‘quite soon’

amazon echo

Ask Vodafone: Mobile network’s first Amazon Alexa voice skill is revealed

Google Feed

The Google app’s new personalised feed might just drag you off Facebook

z2play 9

Moto Z2 Play

Mira Prism

For just $99 you can bring AR to the iPhone 7

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S9 displays may be the same, save one major new feature

movie theatre

The Netflix Effect: ‘Binge-watching’ is coming to movie theatres

Porsche MIssion E

Porsche’s latest electric car chargers put Tesla to shame

EE logo

EE’s new 20GB SIM-free deal is the best value tariff you’ll see all summer


These are the first images from the ISS – as captured by a zero-gravity drone

iMac 21.5-inch 4K (2017)

LG V30 case

LG V30 design ‘confirmed’ ahead of IFA 2017 launch

iPhone 7 vs iPhone SE

Waiting for the iPhone SE 2? Sadly, it could be a one-and-done

Google Glass Enterprise

Google Glass 2 has arrived, sort of

Denon AH-C621R

Denon AH-C621R

BBC Proms

Get ready to listen to the BBC Proms like never before

Fender Newport Monterey Bluetooth speakers

Fender’s new Bluetooth speakers look just like tiny guitar amps

Garmin Vivosmart 3

Garmin Vivosmart 3


Is the laptop travel ban dead? Electronics restrictions lifted by TSA but UK fails to follow suit

KitSound Immerse

KitSound Immerse Wireless Headphones


It’s World Emoji Day and Apple is showing off all of its newcomers

Porn Block

Privacy fears as UK plans age verification for porn sites


New WhatsApp feature could give Apple’s iMessage a run for its money